The plan to create Red Apron began more than twenty years ago.
I fell in love with food at a very early age, when we lived on an 1800-acre farm in Shelburne, Vermont. My mom was an employee, and she created a 5-acre market garden outside our house. We would work together as a team (grown-ups and kids alike) to care for the plants, watering, weeding, picking the vegetables, and bringing them into town to sell at the local Farmer's Market in Burlington, Vermont. The farm also had a big herd of cows and a milking barn, a herd of sheep, a drove of pigs, flocks of chickens, and more than a thousand maple trees, tapped to gather sap and turned into maple syrup under a fire-lit boiling pan every late spring. My clearest memories are driving the tractor (at age 9, for .75 an hour) and tedding the hay, feeding the piglets (piglets are the cutest baby animal, in my opinion), tamping the sheeps' wool down into a giant burlap bag, stretched over a big tower, and going for night-time sleigh rides, riding under the stars, every winter.
My mom and her sister, my aunt, cooked in The Big House (the family mansion) for the Emerson String Quartet, visiting musicians who performed for an annual Mozart Festival. The quartet played outside in the evenings. I remember hearing their music while I was back in the kitchen, peeling carrots and squeezing lemons, with my mom and my aunt, and having a total blast feeding everyone, and with laughter a constant.
Shelburne Farms is very well-known, and now has a quite large non-profit organizations that provide a variety of programs. My mom helped to create the logo, and it's still there.
I started cooking in 1988 during my years at Brown University. I had big scholarships -- which was great -- but that wasn't enough to cover everything. So I'd take a semester off to cook, earn enough to re-enroll for the next semester, and repeat the process a few times so I could finish and earn my double degree. After landing in San Francisco in 1992 for a year-long practicum in teaching, I taught high school English for a few years, and went back to cooking (there's a story behind that decision I'm happy to share, some other time), working in places such as Rivoli, Woodward's Garden, and Plumpjack, earning my stripes, and rising up to sous chef.
After spending countless hours on the line behind the scenes, cooking food, tracking and handling inventory, I started feeling itchy. I began to search for a location, and didn't see what I was looking for. Then I had an accident that prevented me from cooking. So I ended up working in tech, which was not my first love, but the incredible people around me made me stay. In the meantime, I rose up the ladder to Senior Director and Chief of Staff roles at Adobe Systems, and worked on my business plan for the restaurant I've been dreaming of on off hours. And then I found the perfect location. I signed the lease in 2015, and left my job at Adobe in early 2016 to pursue my dream.
How's it going?
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